Saturday, December 20, 2014

Accept Love

This post is coming after lots of conversations, thoughts, and dreams. I'm trying to understand why I've done the things I've done, in regards to how I treat people, and I'm learning so much. I've got so much growing to do and I'm just getting started. One thing that is constantly weighing on my mind is love. This isn't just intimate love with another person, this is self-love, brotherly love, and just love in general. I'm learning that I have to give more love to those around me. I have to make the people who are important to me feel loved. Above all, I have to make sure I love myself. It sounds so cliche, but it's true. You treat others better once you treat yourself better. If I respect my thoughts, actions, and choices, I can accept others.

Accepting myself for who I am allows me to accept others. This is a simple concept that often gets overlooked because of its sheer simplicity. I'm learning things about myself that my pride kept me from seeing. I'm learning that every situation I've been in has two sides to it, however I have been quick to only look to the side I had no control over. Here's the thing, my problem was trying to control everything else when I wasn't entitled to do so, instead of controlling my own actions. I used excuse after excuse to defend my actions instead of acknowledging my flaws and moving forward from them.

This is something I am working to get a hold on. Life is going to happen. People are going to do whatever they want, and I had a hard time accepting that. If someone is going to lie, they'll do it. If someone is going to cheat, same thing. One thing I did learn, however, is people will do better if the person is worth it. It's like the "player" finding that one girl that makes him realize that sleeping around isn't worth anything. Like the one girl that was so used to attention from guys but then realizes that those guys don't matter; what matters is the one right in front of her. When someone finds the person that accepts them at their low, it enables them to want to be better for that person. It makes complete sense! You accept my flaws that I know are there. Why wouldn't I want to work on the flaws for the one person that already accepts me, so I can be better for them? They made me feel that nothing's wrong with me, but I inherently want to strive to be better for that person. Acceptance is the key to growth. If we care for someone, we need to accept them for who they are; not try to change them to who we want them to be.

The downside to changing someone is the "quick-fix effect". When this happens, the change is made right then and there. It seems to work for a period of time, but if the change isn't inherently wanted, it'll be rejected. What may follow is resentment, anger, distrust, and feeling controlled. Someone won't feel controlled if they want to make the change for themselves, but they will feel controlled if they just did it to satisfy the other party. This quick-fix does not help anyone in the long run. If a person is to change, then they have to believe the change is something they will want for themselves first, then for someone else. That is how a positive change can be made, which allows for all parties to benefit and the acts to be genuine.

All in all, Acceptance is one of the many keys to growth. Accepting myself for who I am, currently, will allow me to grow to be an even better person. The thing about acceptance is that you aren't a bad person for the way you are. There's nothing necessarily wrong with you. However, there are areas of growth that may need tending to, and it's up to you to put in the effort. Accept yourself, accept others. No one is anywhere near perfect, by "society's" standards. But, you can be the perfect you; if that makes sense.

Until Next Time,

The Backseat Driver

Sunday, December 14, 2014

First Behavior!

My very first Blog! Ever.

I'm creating this blog because I often find myself writing journal entries getting my thoughts out about different events in my life. I used to keep them bottled up, but that time has passed. I am on a new path in life in hopes of finding the person I am meant to be. I'm hoping that the steps I'm currently taking now, while being open to additions in the near future, will help me achieve success. I am a novice blogger, but I hope I get better with time. This isn't something I envision doing every day, but from time to time I hope to become enamored with the idea of using this as my outlet.

A little bit about myself is that I'm a young professional from Chicago, Illinois. I am a recent college graduate with a passion for affecting the lives of others. This sounds like millions of people in Chicago, but that's the point of anonymity! What sparked this blog? A girl, of course. One of the most passionate, free-spirited persons I know. She awakened a side of me that I had no idea existed. Of course, this blog is following a break-up, but that isn't the focus. The focus is what I realized shortly after. I realized that my relationships, both intimate and family, struggled because of my actions. I don't mean I've been the sole cause of everything going wrong with every person in my life, but I can honestly say I've played a major role in the deterioration of some, potentially, great relationships. One thing, really quickly, is I hate the word "potential". To me, if someone says I have potential, they're just saying I'm falling short of their expectations and maybe one day, I'll reach them. Potential also can stem from some too-high expectations set forth, which can just lead to failure after failure. But, back to the subject. I had thought about my few intimate relationships, and family relationships and saw one common denominator: ME. This was a tough realization to come across, so let me give a little back story.

The girl before the one that made me realize my ways-I had been in a long-term relationship with this girl for almost four years. This girl was the sweetest person you would ever meet. She loved me, unconditionally, and I really had no idea why. I was so self-destructive it was horrible to watch. I treated her horribly, but when I treated her well, her love just grew. Don't get me wrong, I loved her, but no where near how much she loved me. She was completely in love with a person that didn't have her best intentions in mind. I played mind games left and right, was controlling, limiting, manipulative, and just an asshole; and I knew it. For some reason, I kept on doing things, mentally and emotionally, that would just hurt her time after time. It got to a point where I got bored with the relationship and ended it. She offered to give me another chance, but I just refused. Not to mention that I had broken up with her twice before, only to get back with her months after.

In between this girl and the one was a little relationship that still showed my troubled ways in a short time period. Control was an issue for this relationship as well, but from her end was a reluctance to open up about issue within the relationship; which I HATED.

Now, the one. This girl did it for me. She was extremely attractive, smart, artistic, passionate, funny, sweet, caring; you name it, she was it. Now, she did have a dark side to her. She was prideful, rude, disrespectful, selfish, self-centered, and just plain mean. The relationship was so hot and cold you didn't know what to expect. One day, we'd be totally in love. Having fun, listening to music and joking around. Then the next day, we'd be so rude and mean to each other where you would think we never had anything in common a day in our lives. This relationship was so unhealthy and borderline toxic, but we couldn't stay away from each other. It got to a consistently bad point where each holiday, in the time frame of a year, it would be a horrible day. I mean, argument, breaking up, resentment, yelling, just disgust to the other person. This was one of those relationships where on the outside everything looked great. But you know the bigger the smoke cloud, the bigger the trick. We loved one another, at least, I like to think so. I think it was the case of knowing how bad the bad days got made us love the good days even more.  I'm sure I'll speak in greater detail about the relationship at a later date but the point is, I wasn't the boyfriend I should have been. I lacked compassion, kindness, remorse, generosity, along with other key qualities for just a successful friendship. I treated this person that did love me like this, and I have no idea why.

Why is this a part of me? Why am I self destructive? Why is my relationship with my father dwindling? Why don't I have a relationship with my oldest sister? Why can't i forgive my oldest brother? Why do I not talk to my other, older brother? Why do I put down my other, older sister? Why do I treat my mother the way I do? Often being condescending and ungrateful? Why do I do this to the people that love me? These people never really did anything to deserve this treatment, so why do I think this is okay?

Well, why did I think it was okay? I have come to the point where I can see the problem is within. All of these people can't be doing the same thing to me, I may be doing the same things to them? Why can't I maintain healthy relationships? Something has to be done. Why does my pride ruin everything? Now, my ex-girlfriend can't be with me because she's tired of waiting. Plus, it doesn't help that I have issues with her personality that she can't seem to see as of yet. But I do know what I need to do, well, at least I know the first thing I need to do.

This is where the steps start. Today, I attended my first therapy session on my own. It was so tough for me to do because my pride was telling me to stay in the bed. It's tough for a prideful person to acknowledge that they're the cause of the ill-relationships, but to get up and seek help? I never thought I would do such a thing. I thought I could fix everything on my own;  I can't. The girl gave the bare-minimum support, and really didn't even see it as a good enough step in the right direction that deemed me worthy of being with her again. I think her focus was on a temporary, in the moment fix; as opposed to a long-term, systematic approach. At the end of the day, I did it for my growth, not her. I would love for her to support me and be there for me through this time, but life does go on, and so shall I.

I want to keep this blog as a journal for myself. I hope to find someone going through a reflective process of their own faults. The hard part is knowing what's wrong with you. Well, I wouldn't say what's "wrong", but what could be improved! There's nothing wrong with me, per say, but there are areas in dire need of growth. I'm glad I discovered this at the age of 22 rather than the age of 35, with no kids or marriages.

The first session went well. The therapist learned about my past and family history, relationship issues, and ultimately gave me a first actionable step! I didn't see this step coming, but I feel that me listening to myself hasn't been working, so I need to listen to someone else, a professional. He suggested that a possible root cause of my issues can be partially remedied by going to al-anon, which helps families and friends of persons that abuse alcohol and other substances cope with how it affects their lives; because the abuser isn't the only one that's affected. People who grow up in homes where there is substance abuse can cause some personality issues like the ones I am experiencing. I'll be going to a meeting next week to see how things go, because he strongly feels that I may gain some clarity by doing this. Of course, this isn't a quick fix. He says I should go to 6 meetings before I try to rule it out, but it's a start!

I really don't know how it'll go for me. Not many things make me nervous, but this is all uncharted territory for me, so I really am scared. I hope to gain some insight form others who have been in my shoes. I want to build and maintain long-lasting relationships, as well as love my family and friends that I currently have like I should. I may post before the meeting to write about other topics that have affected me because I love voicing my opinion. If you have insight, please let me know.

The Backseat Driver